Whether you are a bodybuilder, a professional athlete or simply exercising to improve your health, sports nutrition plays a key role in optimising the beneficial effects of physical activity. Making better decisions with your nutrition and hydration can result in improved performance, recovery.
Total healthsums offer a range of services to support your health and sporting goals. This can range from a daily food diary, to a comprehensive food and nutrition plan for training and competitions.
The importance of sports nutrition
Consuming the right balance of food and drink is important for everyone. Yet those actively participating in sport on a regular basis need to be aware that it can also affect their performance. Athletes, for example, may need more calories than the average person. So if you’re an athlete, or simply someone who’s made the decision to start exercising on a regular basis, you shouldn’t let a good nutrition plan fall down on your list of priorities.
1) Sports performance and energy
Fats, protein and carbohydrates all provide your body with fuel to maintain energy. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel used by working muscles. Adequate intake is essential for preventing muscle fatigue. While you should monitor your fat intake, you should not remove it from your diet completely. Fats provide fatty acids that can be used as a source of energy - especially if your exercise sessions last longer than one hour. Fats also provide the building blocks for hormones and formation of cell walls. Protein can be used as a source of energy and is critical for building new muscle tissue. If you are taking part in resistance training, your body will require additional protein.
2) Weight management
To maintain a healthy weight , eating well is crucial. If you are looking to lose weight for sport, strictly reducing your protein, fat or calorie intake can not only have a negative impact on your performance, but it can severely harm your body.
The types of food that you should include in your diet for optimum sports nutrition include: vegetableswhole grainsfruitsources of lean protein and low-fat dairy producehealthy fats.
It’s crucial to stay hydrated when you are taking part in sports. Inadequate fluid intake leads to dehydration. This affects your performance; and can be dangerous for your health too. Although dehydration can happen in any activity, it’s more prevalent when exercising in hot and humid conditions. Water is perfect for rehydration, but if you are engaged in physical activity for longer than one hour, sports drinks that include electrolytes can be helpful.
4) After the event
Even if things haven’t gone to plan in your game, or you’ve had to walk the last half-mile of your run because of fatigue, you shouldn’t neglect your nutritional needs. It should be a priority, no matter what the result is. Athletes, casual runners, footballers and so on typically do not consume enough fluids when they are taking part in events, or even training. So restoring the balance after the event is crucial. Water is perfect for rehydration.
How a sports nutrition professional can help
The aim of a sports nutritionist or dietitian is to create a nutrition plan for an individual’s training needs. The plan will incorporate both food and hydration. It doesn’t matter if you're casually exercising or training for a professional event, sports nutrition is integral to performance. These strategies can also help to:
a) Increase energy levels
b) Promote good health
c) Help manage weight
d) Improve concentration
e) Develop body composition and growth
f) Enhance recovery.
To create the best nutrition strategy, a sports nutrition professional will be required to assess not just an individual's training and diet but also their lifestyle, day to day habits, supplements and if you are taking any medication. A nutrition professional will also be able to analyse and support you with your long and short-term goals.
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